Reunited Ukrainian family settling into a new life in western Massachusetts

Reunited Ukrainian family settling into a new life in western Massachusetts
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 9:50 PM EST
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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Last year, we brought you the story of a local father who went to Ukraine on a rescue mission to get his daughter, Mary, out of the war-torn country with the help of his daughter’s mother. Now, the girl’s mother is safe in the United States as well.

Western Mass News first met David Korpiewski last year after he and his daughter’s mother, Iryna Bobukh, teamed up to get their daughter out of Ukraine in the early days of the war with Russia, with Bobukh remaining in the war-torn country. As of Wednesday, the three have been reunited in western Massachusetts.

“I’m happy that my parents are here, both of them, and I get to see them almost every day and I get to see my brothers and sister,” Mary Kopriewski said.

“I was able to talk to her and we were able to talk over the phone, but of course, it’s different from real life. I could say it’s good to be together again,” Bobukh added.

Bobukh arrived in July 2022 and now teaches in the Economics Department at UMass Amherst. She admitted that moving to America was an adjustment at first.

“I felt like I came to the red planet, everything. It wasn’t like worse or better. Everything was just completely different,” Bobukh said.

However, now, her favorite part is living under a clear blue sky.

“In Ukraine, I guess they never take it for granted anymore. Even though they don’t have it when they have it, they will be grateful for it every day…People can be calm they feel safe and they don’t hear all the missiles all the time. That’s very different,” Bobukh explained.

While Bobukh and Mary wish to visit Ukraine and see family there again, David Korpiewski said it’s not in the cards yet.

“We don’t know when the world’s going to end and we don’t know who’s gonna win necessarily. If the Russians take over, I don’t even know if you can get into Ukraine anymore. Honestly, it really depends on the outcome of the war,” David Korpiewski noted.

He said they are supporting the country from western Massachusetts by collecting and donating needed supplies, talking about what’s going on in Ukraine, and more.

“It’s not mainstream news anymore. You don’t really hear about all the killings going on by the Russians over there. You don’t hear much about bombings unless it’s significant with lots of bloodshed or something, but in general, you know, it’s still a struggle butt…Here’s two Ukrainians that have escaped, but there’s millions and millions of other Ukrainians that have not been able to leave the country,” David Korpiewski added.

If you are interested in helping Ukrainians, you can CLICK HERE for a list of medical supplies they are collecting.